If you’ve been experiencing a sudden onset of eye swelling and aren’t sure what the root cause is, you may have a common condition called blepharitis. So, what is blepharitis? How can you treat it? And what are the symptoms of blepharitis?
Here we’ll cover everything you need to know about blepharitis, including how to prevent it from returning, and any known complications.
An Overview of Blepharitis
At times, diagnosing an eye condition can be difficult, especially since many of these infections can share the same symptoms. However, when it comes to blepharitis, it’s also very common to have more than one issue going on at the same time. As an example, people with blepharitis usually also suffer from dry eye syndrome or MGD. Pinpointing exactly whats going on with your eyes will be the only surefire way to find the most effective treatment.
Many people aren’t familiar with blepharitis or aren’t aware of just how common it is.
Blepharitis is a type of eye condition that’s characterized by reddened, swollen eyelids. The eyelids are often itchy and sore. This condition can be quite uncomfortable without immediate care and is different than when you have swollen eyes from crying.
This eye condition is usually caused by a bacterial infection or a skin disorder. Generally speaking, blepharitis isn’t contagious like conjunctivitis is, and it can affect people of all ages. While this condition can definitely be very uncomfortable in severe cases, it doesn’t pose a risk to your vision.
There are two different types of blepharitis: posterior and anterior.
Posterior Versus Anterior
Did you know that there is no cure for posterior blepharitis, but anterior blepharitis is totally curable? While there’s no known cure for posterior blepharitis there are ways you can treat the condition that will help to relieve any discomfort and manage symptoms.
Both types of blepharitis can cause crusty white or yellow material on the lashes.
Anterior blepharitis affects the front of the eyelids, involving the area where the lids and lashes attach. Anterior blepharitis is not as common as posterior blepharitis and it’s often caused by seborrheic dermatitis or a bacterial infection. Seborrheic dermatitis is a type of skin disorder that’s more commonly known as dandruff. This condition causes itching and flaking skin on the eyebrows and the scalp. While anterior blepharitis is pretty rare, mites on the eyelashes or allergies can also cause this condition.
Posterior blepharitis affects the inner eyelid. This more common form of blepharitis is usually caused by issues with meibomian glands, dandruff, or rosacea.
What are the Symptoms of Blepharitis?
This condition can greatly vary in severity and can cause a wide range of symptoms including the following:
- Swollen eyelids
- Gritty sensation
- Burning sensation
- Excessive tearing
- Crusting on eyelids
While it’s true that this condition will not cause damage that can affect your vision in the future, if you fail to treat it, you may experience a worsening of symptoms and new symptoms such as:
- Irregular eyelid margins
- Dilated capillaries
- Cornea erosion
- Eye inflammation
- Crooked eyelashes
- Loss of eyelashes
- Secondary eye infections
- Blurry vision
Want to know how to soothe irritated skin around your eyes? Check out our guide on the topic.
Treatment can depend on the type of blepharitis you have, however, a very important aspect of care involves keeping the eyelids clean. Cold or warm compresses are recommended to soak the swollen eyelids and loosen up any dried crust on the eyelashes and the eyelids. Using a gentle cleanser such as baby shampoo can help to keep the area clean without causing further irritation.
If a secondary bacterial infection is present, you may need antibiotic ointment or eye drops. In serious cases, steroid treatment may be needed in order to get the inflammation under control.
Because it’s very easy for blepharitis to recur, managing this condition can be very difficult. Not only will treatment depend on what type of blepharitis you have, but also the severity of the infection.
Other treatment options include:
- Saline eye drops
- Cleaning the eyelids several times a day
- Immunomodulator eye drops
- Supplements such as omega 3 fatty acids
- Eyelid massage
Prolonged therapy may be required in order to control this condition.
A round of antibiotics is the main treatment for anterior blepharitis. Antibiotics can be prescribed in ointment, drops, or pill form.
Blepharitis that’s caused by mites will be treated by applying tea tree oil compounds to the eyelids.
Eyelid hygiene will also help to effectively treat anterior blepharitis.
Treatment for posterior blepharitis can include nutritional supplements, dry eye medications, or antibiotic ointment.
Treating blepharitis on your own may not be the best idea unless you’ve been diagnosed with this condition in the past. If you simply believe you have blepharitis based on your symptoms, we strongly urge you to make an appointment with your optometrist in order to get an accurate diagnosis. Many of the symptoms associated with blepharitis are common with other, more serious eye infections. So, play it safe and let a pro diagnose your eye issues.
However, if you have dealt with blepharitis in the past and you’re experiencing another flare-up, there are some things you can do at home to treat it that can save you a lot of money on a costly doctor visit.
For many recurring cases of posterior blepharitis, home treatment is fairly common.
It usually begins with proper eyelid hygiene, which includes massaging, warming, and cleaning the eyelids regularly, throughout the day. This helps to unclog the oil glands on the eyelids while also reducing built up crust and improving symptoms caused by dry eyes.
Can I Wear Contact Lenses with Blepharitis?
If you wear contact lenses daily you may need to stop wearing them during treatment. In severe cases, you may have to discontinue using them indefinitely, especially if you’re struggling with recurring infections. For some, switching from soft lenses to rigid contacts can help. The rigid contact lenses aren’t as likely to accumulate lens deposits.
Contact lens discomfort that’s caused by blepharitis can be relieved by changing to one-day disposable lenses or by replacing soft contact lenses more frequently.
A Recurring Condition
Did you know that once you have had blepharitis, it will often come back? Below you’ll find some tips on how to effectively deal with a flare-up.
- When you wash your hair, always use a dandruff shampoo
- Massage the eyelids before going to bed each night in order to help release any trapped oil in the meibomian glands
- If possible, stop using contact lenses and switch to glasses when you’re experiencing a flare-up.
Practicing good eyelid hygiene is the most important way to increase your comfort with a blepharitis flare-up.
Eyelid Hygiene Treatment
Using a gel mask to soothe symptoms associated with posterior blepharitis can be very soothing and can also provide immediate relief. To do, place a gel mask in your microwave for twenty seconds until it’s nice and warm, but not too hot. The mask should be placed over your eyes for ten minutes. Remove the mask, then massage your eyelids for two minutes. To do you’ll place your index finger on the outside of the eyelid, close to the lashes. Press down on the eyelid firmly for five seconds, moving to different areas of the eyelid. This massage can temporarily cause blurry vision.
Next, you’ll do eyelid scrubs. Use a gentle cleaning foam to gently scrub the edges of the eyelids and the lashes in order to remove crust. During this time, keep your eyes closed and rinse off the cleanser.
Many people with this condition also suffer from dry eye syndrome. Unfortunately, a blepharitis flare-up often makes dry eye symptoms much worse.
Omega 3 Supplements for Blepharitis Treatment
MGD or meibomian gland dysfunction is one of the contributing factors of blepharitis symptoms. This condition hinders the eye’s ability to secrete enough oil to keep the eyes lubricated properly. And the result? A gritty sensation and irritated, dry eyes. In order to help manage both blepharitis and meibomian gland dysfunction, you can add an omega 3 supplement to your diet, in the form of sea buckthorn oil, flaxseed oil, or fish oil. Omega 3s are considered an essential fatty acid, which means the body is not able to produce omega 3s on its own, so it needs to obtain them from an outside source. If you’re failing to get enough omega 3s in your diet, then you may notice that your dry eye situation is only making your blepharitis problem worse. Adding a high-quality omega 3 supplement can help to alleviate the symptoms associated with blepharitis by increasing the oil content in your tears.
When shopping for an omega 3 supplement, be sure to choose one that’s packaged in a type of opaque container because constant exposure to light often decreases the effectiveness. You should also keep in mind that this type of supplement can thin the blood, posing an increased risk for excess bleeding.
An In-Depth Look at MGD
People with recurring blepharitis infections are also hit with MGD, a condition in which there’s a blockage in the meibomian glands. There are approximately thirty to forty glands located in the upper eyelid and around thirty in the lower eyelid. These glands secrete oil onto the surface of the eye, keeping it nice and moist. With MGD, there is some type of abnormality in the glands or a blockage, which prevents the glands from producing enough oil.
There are many factors that can put you at risk for MGD. Like other eye related issues such as blepharitis and dry eye syndrome, the risk for MGD tends to increase with age. In fact, it’s often the underlying cause of dry eyes and blepharitis. Wearing heavy eye makeup is another contributing factor. Eye makeup can clog the openings of the glands, especially if you fail to remove all traces of makeup before you go to bed. Research has also shown that wearing contact lenses can also increase a person’s risk of MGD.
The symptoms of MGD are similar to blepharitis: itchy, burning, swollen, eyes and blurred vision.
In terms of treatment, in the past, most doctors simply recommended warm compresses and eyelid massages. The goal of this type of treatment was to express and melt any thickened oils trapped in the glands. However, both massages and compresses aren’t able to provide any symptom relief in people with MGD. Fortunately, there are more effective treatments available, such as gland probing or antibacterial eyedrops.
Gland probing is a simple technique that’s performed by an optometrist. The doctor will unclog the opening of the glands using a handheld instrument. This treatment is said to provide immediate relief of MGD symptoms.
Antibacterial eye drops are another effective treatment option. However, in some cases, the antibiotics can worsen the blepharitis. During an exam, your doctor should be able to recommend antibiotic eye drops or an ointment that won’t further irritate your eyes if you also have a blepharitis infection.
Taking a Break from Your Computer
If you’re stuck at your desk all day staring at a computer screen, then this can cause recurring blepharitis infections, resulting in eyes that are constantly red, sore, and dry. When you’re involved in near-sighted activities such as using a tablet, eReader, or PC, then you usually don’t blink as much as you would if you were doing a non-screen related activity. This is why it’s so easy for the eyes to dry out, which will worsen existing conditions such as blepharitis.
In order to prevent this, make more of an effort to take a break from your computer screen for at least ten minutes every hour.
As you’ve probably gathered by now, practicing good eye hygiene is one of the best ways you can alleviate the symptoms of blepharitis. When you’re dealing with an infestation of mites you’ll need to use special cleaning products that won’t irritate your eyes and can also significantly reduce the mite population without totally killing them off. When isolated, 4 Terpineol is the most effective compound in tea tree oil and it’s very good at killing mites and soothing tired, irritated, dry eyes.
What is Dry Eye Syndrome?
Dry eye syndrome is caused by a lack of moisture and lubrication on the eye’s surface. The consequences of dry eyes can range from constant eye irritation to severe inflammation and possible scarring on the surface of the eyes.
Dry eyes are pretty common and one of the major reasons people visit their eye doctor.
The symptoms of dry eyes are similar to that of blepharitis and include:
- Tired eyes
- Heavy eyes
- Itchy eyes
- Burning sensation
- Red eyes
- Sore eyes
- Increased sensitivity to light
- Blurry vision
The feeling that a foreign body is stuck in the eye is another common symptom.
Additionally, while it may sound odd, tearing can also be a symptom of dry eyes. This occurs when the dryness on the surface of the eyes overstimulates the production of a watery component of the tears as a protective action. This is simply reflex tearing and the tears themselves do not stay on the surface of the eye long enough to correct the root cause of dry eyes.
Dry eyes can also cause swelling, inflammation and in some cases, permanent damage to the eye’s surface. This condition may also have a negative effect on the outcome of cataract or Lasik surgery.
The Cause of Dry Eyes
A consistent and adequate layer of tears on the eye’s surface is crucial in order to keep the eyes comfortable and healthy. The tears bathe the eyes, washing away microorganisms, debris, dust, and dirt that could potentially damage the cornea or the eye and lead to an infection.
Standard tear film consists of the following components:
- Mucous-like component
All of the critical components of the tear film serves a purpose. As an example, the lipids prevent the tear film from quickly evaporating, while increasing lubrication. The mucus helps to spread and anchor the tears across the eye’s surface.
Each component is produced by a different gland near or on the eye:
The oily component of the tears is produced by the meibomian gland in the eyelids. While the watery component is produced by glands that are located behind the upper eyelid. These glands are called the lacrimal glands.
The mucus is produced in the conjunctiva by goblet cells. The conjunctiva covers the whites of the eyes.
An issue with any of these components can result in dry eyes and tear instability.
As an example, if the meibomian gland cannot secrete or produce enough oil, then the tear film will evaporate too quickly. This condition is called evaporative dry eyes.
In other cases, the root cause of dry eyes is the failure of the lacrimal gland to produce enough water fluid needed to keep the eyes moist.
The type of dry eye a person has determines the type of treatment needed in order to find relief from dry eye symptoms.
What Can Increase the Risk of Blepharitis and Dry Eye Syndrome?
There are many factors that can increase a person’s risk of blepharitis and dry eyes. These include:
Computer use: When you work at a computer all day or spend too much time on your phone or another type of digital device, you tend to blink less frequently and less fully. This can lead to faster tear evaporation.
Contact lens use: While it’s almost impossible to determine the extent that contact lens use can contribute to dry eye and blepharitis, dry eye discomfort is the main reason why people stop using contact lenses.
Age: Dry eyes can occur at any age however, it tends to become more common later in life.
Hormones: Women who are post-menopausal are at a higher risk of dry eyes and blepharitis compared to men of the same age.
Indoor conditions: Forced air heating systems, ceiling fans, and air conditioning can hasten tear evaporation and decreases humidity, causing blepharitis and dry eye symptoms.
Outdoor conditions: Windy or dry conditions can increase dry eye symptoms and risks.
Smoking: In addition to blepharitis and dry eyes, smoking has also been linked to uveitis, cataracts, and macular degeneration.
Flying: The air in an airplane is incredibly dry and can result in dry eye symptoms, especially in people who fly frequently.
Outdoor environment: Arid climates and dry or windy conditions increase dry eye risks.
Health: Certain health conditions including Sjogren’s syndrome, arthritis, lupus, an overactive thyroid, and diabetes can also contribute to dry eye issues.
Medication: Many over the counter and prescription medications such as blood pressure medications, antidepressants, and antihistamines can increase a person’s risk of developing dry eye syndrome.
Eyelid issues: A condition that involves the incomplete closure of the eyelid when sleeping or blinking, which is caused by aging, can result in severe dry eyes which, if left untreated, can lead to corneal ulcers.
Dry Eye Treatment
Fortunately, there are many effective treatment options available for people suffering from ongoing dry eye symptoms. In most cases, the regular use of artificial tears and taking frequent breaks during computer use can significantly minimize symptoms associated with dry eyes.
In severe cases, your doctor may need to prescribe medication, or they may recommend in-office procedures that are designed to decrease eye inflammation and irritation and help the eyes to secrete more tears.
Managing Dry Eyes and Blepharitis
Studies are still underway to determine if dry eyes cause a blepharitis infection or if blepharitis causes dry eye syndrome.
Often, physicians will recommend a routine at-home treatment that will help to manage mild cases of dry eyes and blepharitis that can also help to prevent recurring infections in the future. This involves the standard eyelid scrub and the use of artificial tears.
While blepharitis complications are rare, there are some complications that can arise. Fortunately, most can be easily controlled.
The most common complaint from patients with a blepharitis infection is their inability to wear contact lenses during a flare-up. While this can certainly be an inconvenience, this can easily be solved by wearing glasses until the symptoms disappear.
The symptoms associated with blepharitis can vary from mild to uncomfortable and it can even cause permanent damage if left untreated. Eyelid inflammation can affect the seal that’s achieved when you blink, which leaves the whites of the eyes dry, red, and uncomfortable. The skin around the eyes can itch and flake. A person may eventually develop a sensitivity to bright light as well. As the infection continues to progress, a person can also experience crusting around the eyelids overnight.
Over a period of time, blepharitis that’s left untreated can also cause a person to lose their eyelashes, which will significantly reduce the protection offered by blinking. Many people also develop chronic pink eye, which can be very painful.
Conjunctivitis, or pink eye involves the inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is a thin membrane that covers the inner surface of the white part of the eyes. This infection is caused by bacteria in the eyelids and it’s not usually serious, although it can cause discomfort, blurry vision and intense itching and swelling. A pink eye infection will typically last a couple of weeks.
What are Styes?
Styes are another complication that can arise during a blepharitis infection. A stye is a painful bump that develops on the edge of the eyelid. These growths are caused by bacteria found at the base of the eyelash. Most styles can easily be treated with the use of a warm compress one to three times daily. Serious styes may need to be treated with antibiotics in the form of a cream or ointment.
The meibomian glands found on the inside of the eyelids produce a type of fatty substance that’s designed to protect the eyes. Blepharitis causes these glands to become inflamed, which can result in a meibomian cyst. These cysts usually go away without treatment and are relatively painless. You can minimize their appearance by using hot compresses, but should the cyst become infected, you will need to take a round of antibiotics. If the cyst still does not disappear, then it may need to be surgically removed.
If you think you may have blepharitis or you already suffer from it, then improving your hygiene routine will be the best and fastest way to reduce the severity of the infection. If the skin under or around the eyes is broken and too inflamed for soap, you can use a warm washcloth to soothe the irritated skin twice daily. Doing so can help to remove blocked oil glands and will allow them to release trapped oil. Wiping the area with a cloth, from top to bottom, in the direction of the lid, will help to effectively remove contaminants and irritants away from the eye, reducing the conditions that bacteria need to thrive.
Demodex Mites and Blepharitis
It’s obvious that the presence of these mites can make blepharitis worse. While itching is a common complaint in people with blepharitis, it’s much more common in people who are suffering from a demodex infestation and blepharitis.
It’s not clear why demodex infestations are linked to blepharitis. While it’s possible that the mites cause irritation of hair follicles and the sebaceous glands, it’s believed that demodex mites can cause blepharitis by introducing bacteria into hair follicles and the sebaceous glands, which then initiate inflammation and other host immune responses.
Antibiotics do not have an effect on mites but may be needed in order to treat a severe blepharitis infection. During testing performed by researchers studying the link between demodex mite infestations and blepharitis, these researchers noted that the meibomian secretions in patients with blepharitis had modified fatty acids and meibum, both of which mites feed on. Because of this, scientists are curious as to whether higher levels of mites are present in people with blepharitis simply because the infection is fueling the mite population.
Once you’ve been diagnosed with a demodex mite infestation, in addition to your blepharitis infection, the first thing you shouldn’t do is panic. The key here will be to reduce the mite population. Since eyelid hygiene is linked to an infestation, daily eyelid care is usually recommended. However, there’s evidence that has shown that this method often fails to resolve the problem. Probably the most effective management option is the use of tea tree oil once daily.
Scientists still have a lot to learn regarding the role demodex mites play in blepharitis infections, however, one thing is clear: the mites should not be overlooked during treatment, especially in cases in which patients struggle with unresolved blepharitis. If you experience chronic eyelid inflammation and have a demodex mite infestation that doesn’t respond to traditional treatment, you should focus primarily on reducing the mite population aggressively, as opposed to first treating the blepharitis infection.
Cilradex is a type of wipe that’s designed to reduce the number of demodex mites that live on the lashes. It’s important to keep in mind that every person carries these eyelash mites. Unless you’re dealing with an overgrowth of these mites, you don’t have to follow a treatment for an infestation.
The Blepharitis and Stress Connection
Unrelenting, extreme levels of stress that are caused by illness, family problems, and trouble at work, in addition to many other issues, can have a major impact on immune health. A person who is suffering from chronic stress that manifests in conditions such as blepharitis will need to incorporate relaxation into their daily routine in order to better manage stress. Without proper stress management, a person can run the risk of permanent damage to their health.
Poor eye care hygiene can greatly impact immune function. Combined with high levels of stress, the immune system will struggle to fight off even mild infections. When both the mind and body are overloaded with exhaustion and stress it can’t fight off the bacteria that already lives on the skin.
If poor hygiene and diet, lack of sleep, and stress are impacting a person’s ability to fight off infectious agents and toxins, a person can expect recurring blepharitis infections. When the body is out of balance that’s due to poor nutrition and lack of sleep, conditions such as blepharitis can easily crop up, unless important lifestyle changes are made.
These changes can be as simple as eating three meals a day, washing the eyes and face two to three times a day, following proper handwashing protocols, and sleeping a minimum of seven to eight hours a night. Of course, making serious lifestyle changes aren’t always easy, especially when it comes to diet. Fortunately, there are many supplements on the market that can help you ensure you get the recommended daily dose of essential vitamins and minerals.
How Long Does Blepharitis Last?
The length of a blepharitis infection will depend on many factors, such as the underlying cause, your commitment to treating it, and the type of medication prescribed.
Fortunately, blepharitis usually responds well to treatment. Your physician will monitor your response to treatment periodically. Typically, only one doctor visit is all it takes, with additional exams needed only if the blepharitis doesn’t respond well to treatment.
If you have dandruff, you’ll need to treat it with a special shampoo.
If the infection is caused by an environmental allergy at work or home, you must avoid the allergen in order to prevent future infections. By themselves or in combination with an antibiotic, steroid drops may also be prescribed in order to get the inflammation under control and prevent serious complications.
In infants and toddlers, the cause of blepharitis can be due to a blocked tear duct. This is often treated with a gentle eyelid massage several times throughout the day. In severe cases, the blocked duct may need to be opened with the use of a special probe.
In order to prevent the recurrence of blepharitis, long-term eyelid care may be necessary.
How to Prevent Blepharitis from Returning?
We’ve discussed what blepharitis is, the complications associated with an infection, and even routine treatment. We’ve also mentioned that recurring blepharitis is pretty common, which can be very frustrating and stressful for most people. So, what can you do to prevent blepharitis from returning?
If you suffer from recurring blepharitis infections, below you’ll find some great and effective care tips that will help you treat and prevent infections in the future.
Eyeshadow, eyeliner, and mascara can all contribute to the buildup of bacteria around and in the eyes. Makeup is also known to dry out the eyelids and eyes, especially if you wear waterproof eyeliner and/or mascara. This type of environment is perfect for blepharitis to thrive. If you’re not ready to ditch your eye makeup, then you need to make sure you thoroughly wash your eyes and face before bedtime. Never sleep in your makeup.
Cleaning your eyelids and eyes regularly can help to prevent recurring episodes of blepharitis. You can use an over the counter lash and eye cleaner, massaging the area for one minute, two times a day. Products such as Lash Pure Cleanser contains powerful essential oils such as tea tree oil, which is a natural antiseptic that can help prevent blepharitis infections in the future.
Avoid Eyelash Extensions
While it’s still possible to wear eyelash extensions if you have a mild case of blepharitis, people with moderate or severe infections should avoid eyelash extensions until the infection is resolved. If you do have a mild case of blepharitis and you’re wearing eyelash extensions, make sure you thoroughly clean the extensions and the eyelid area regularly.
Ease Eye Inflammation
In order to ease inflammation and irritation and keep the skin around the eyes soft and smooth, use a warm washcloth over the eyes at least two times a day. Repeat the process with a new washcloth once the first washcloth has cooled. Do this for five to ten minutes or until you experience relief.
Switch to Glasses
Contact lenses can totally change your look for the better, but they can also cause severe eye irritation in some people. Never wear lenses if you’re experiencing a blepharitis flare-up. Lenses will definitely further irritate the eye and can even cause painful swelling and itching. This can significantly slow down the healing process. Switch to eyeglasses instead so you can give your eyes the proper amount of time to heal.
If you wear glasses, contact lenses, and you have recurring issues of blepharitis throughout the year then it’s important to meet with your optometrist at least every six months. Your doctor can determine if you are in fact experiencing recurring episodes or if something more serious is going on. They can also prescribe more effective cleansers, ointments, and eye drops, which can help to get the infection under control faster and may even shorten the duration of the infection.
If you’ve been suffering from blepharitis for months, then you know how itchy, dry, and swollen your eyes can be. With these tips, you’ll be able to prevent recurring episodes of blepharitis and keep it away for good.
Is Blepharitis Contagious?
This is a common question most parents ask if their child has been diagnosed with blepharitis. While pink eye can develop in people with this type of infection, there is no evidence available that indicates that blepharitis can be passed from one person to another. However, because a conjunctivitis infection is possible, handwashing immediately after coming into contact with the infected eye is highly recommended. You should also take other necessary precautions such as wiping down doorknobs, handles, and other surfaces in the home in order to prevent the likelihood of spreading conjunctivitis, should you have a mild infection and not know it.
What are the Best Eye drops for Blepharitis?
Here we’ll discuss the most effective, gentle, over the counter eye drops designed to treat blepharitis.
There is a wide range of over the counter artificial tears to choose from. What may work for one person may cause the symptoms to worsen in another. This means it can be somewhat of a trial and error process to find eye drops that feel soothing for your particular case of blepharitis.
Artificial tears are designed to help people who suffer from blepharitis and dry eye syndrome. These drops are available over the counter and are usually reasonably priced. However, there are so many drops to choose from that finding the right drops for your case of blepharitis can be overwhelming.
When you’re choosing eye drops there are a few things you’ll want to consider:
- How bad is your blepharitis?
- What is causing your blepharitis or dry eye syndrome?
- And are drops that are preservative free really better for you?
There’s been a lot of debate regarding the benefits and safety of using artificial tears that contain preservatives.
The preservatives are added to prevent the spread of bacteria and also make the drops last much longer. Additionally, drops with preservatives are usually much stronger compared to drops that are preservative-free.
However, some studies have shown that preservatives can cause corneal neurotoxicity. You’ll also be limited in the frequency in which you can use the drops. For some, the drops can irritate the eyes and worsen symptoms of blepharitis.
Overall, optometrists and other medical professionals tend to agree that it’s best to use drops that are preservative-free when possible.
Nano Tears MXP
These drops are said to provide instant relief for severe cases of blepharitis and dry eyes. They’re designed to relieve discomfort, irritation, and burning due to infection or exposure to windy conditions. The drops excel in the treatment of dry eye syndrome and work by replicating the lipids that are produced by the meibomian glands.
Nano Tears TF
These drops are not quite as strong as their MXP formula however, the drops are said to provide instant relief for people suffering from recurring blepharitis or dry eye syndrome. These drops can instantly relieve discomfort, irritation, swelling, and burning due to infection, computer use, environmental irritants, and more.
These drops contain tiny clear lipids that help to restore natural lubrication by providing the essential lipid layer of tear film the eye normally produces. The manufacturer claims these drops can instantly provide relief in a matter of seconds.
These drops deliver long-lasting protection, so you don’t have to constantly reapply them throughout the day. They’re doctor recommended and sterile. They’re designed to provide eye protection for an extended period of time. While the drops are in liquid form they act more like a gel, adhering to the surface of the eye and providing a protective barrier over the eye that will keep the eyes moisturized and feeling refreshed.
These artificial eye drops contain an innovative electrolyte and hypotonic formula that’s designed to replicate real tears. These drops are pretty popular thanks to the patented electrolyte loaded formula. The manufacturer claims these drops are the result of an eighteen-year research project, which is pretty impressive. They can treat both blepharitis infections and dry eye syndrome.
Refresh Optive Advanced
These lubricating eye drops can provide instant relief from symptoms associated with blepharitis or DES. Their power comes from the triple action formula that’s also preservative-free. These drops have been clinically proven to instantly relieve irritated, burning, dry eyes. The drops are said to work on each layer of tear film to soothe and lubricate the eyes. These drops are a great choice for blepharitis infections, DES, sensitive eyes, and they can also be used post Lasik surgery to prevent and treat dry eyes. Since the drops are so gentle they can be used as often as needed.
Bausch and Lomb
These drops feature an advanced formula designed to provide longer lasting lubrication compared to other eye drops in this price range. The drops are designed to keep the eyes feeling fresh all day long with just a single application. However, since the drops are preservative-free you can use them as often as you need.
GenTeal Lubricating Eye Drops
These drops are a great choice for mild to moderate cases of blepharitis or dry eye syndrome. According to the manufacturer, these drops feature an advanced hydration formula that’s designed to have these drops working around the clock to provide much-needed relief from itching, sore, irritated, burning eyes. Because the drops are preservative-free they’re also safe to use for the long-term.
Bion Lubricating Eye Drops
If you’re looking for gentle eye drops that won’t cause further irritation to your swollen, red eyelids, then look no further.
These drops are preservative-free and fully sterile. The drops are designed for people who suffer from recurring blepharitis infections or chronic dry eye syndrome, so you know they’re strong. The manufacturer suggests using the drops for a period of four weeks.
Similasan Sterile Lubricating Eye Drops
These herbal drops are a great choice if you’re looking for a homeopathic product. They’re preservative-free and are relatively mild, so they’re not the best choice if you’re dealing with a moderate or severe case of blepharitis. Because they feature an herbal formula, most people claim the drops don’t really work unless you count the placebo effect, while others swear by these drops and claim they can provide instant relief.
Learn how to get rid of wrinkles around your eyes here.